Circa 2006, 2007, & 2008, former Stark County state representative Johnnie A. Maier, Jr was "at the top" of his political game.
During his stint as Stark Dems chairman (2003 through 2009), the Dems managed to capture every Stark County-wide (non-judicial) elected office.
He must have had a premonition that "all Hell was going to break loose" as he resigned as party chairman and left his successor and prime member of his personal political loyalty group; namely, Randy Gonzalez, to "pick up the pieces" as what local civic activist Craig T. Conley termed as being Zeiglergate broke loose on April 1, 2009.
- Zeigler resigned/retired in an agreement with Stark County commissioners on October 19, 2011,
- In 2012 Republican Richard Regula (in a major political surprise defeated by Democrat Todd Bosley in 2006) reclaimed his commissionership in replacing Democrat Pete Ferguson (elected in 2008 but who decided not to seek reelection)
- In 2010, Republican Janet Creighton easily defeated Maier/Gonzalez political confidant Steven Meeks (appointed by the Dems in 2007 to replace Tom Harmon [resigned in 2009]),
- In 2010, Bosley
- who along with Harmon [appointed by the Dems to replace Strickland administration appointee [lottery commission] and therefore former commissioner Gayle Jackson ,
- voted in December, 2008 to "impose" a 1/2 cent sales tax on Stark Coutians,
- and, therefore, apparently concluding that he could not win reelection as commissioner instead ran for state representative, the 50th District, a suffered a massive political defeat
- In 2010, Democrat Stark County auditor who was apparently thought by Stark County voters to be too politically close to Zeigler and did not do enough to raise alarms that "all may not be well" in the Stark County treasury headed by Zeigler, lost in convincing fashion to Republican Alan Harold,
So there you have "a thumbnail sketch" of how the Stark County political empire that Johnnie A. Maier, Jr had worked so hard to create had come crashing down.
Maier got his start back in 1988 when he had the good fortune "be in the right place, at the right time." Stalwart Republican icon "Red" Ash (the, at the time, 49th House District, which became the 56th and then the 50th) had run into legal troubles and Maier was there "to pick up the pieces."
Over his years of chairman and a Massillon clerk of courts, Maier worked equally hard - if not more so - to develop a cult-like following of his personal political aspirations, to wit:
He had come home (Massillon area) from "the high reaches" of Columbus where he fraternized with the all-powerful Vern Riffe, Jr. (Speaker of the House 1975 - 1995) and learned "the art of cultivating and mastering" political power.
Many think Riffe used political power for the public good whereas there are those who think that student Johnnie, Jr applies it to his personal interests.
One of the devices of governance that the Republicans used in 1992 to wrest power from te Democrats was to support voter passage of term limits in Ohio.
Under the term limits legislation, representatives were limited to eight (8) consecutive years in office.
Accordingly, Maier, Jr had to find a more secure and nesting place and in a show of what was to come from this disciple of Vern Riffe, he put a political power move on fellow Democrat Edward L. Radel, Jr and ousted him as clerk of Massillon Municipal Court earlier in 1999.
Maier went on to defeat Republican Richard Reichel by an overwhelming majority in 1999 general election.
All of the foregoing is to demonstrate that Maier is now "on life support" to salvage what remains of his Stark County based political empire.
And that, folks, is his "all-out, all consuming" effort to get his brother George (who he likely got Ted Strickland to appoint as assistant director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety) elected as Stark County sheriff.
A victim of the Maier obsession with getting his brother elected may be "top-gun" prosecutor Chryssa Hartnett.
Chryssa works for Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero (who along with former sheriff Tim Swanson have worked against George becoming sheriff, appointed and/or elected).
The SCPR believes that the Maiers are soaking up nearly all the financial resources that Stark Dems can raise and that Hartnett may not be able to garner enough campaign funds to get her message out to the Stark County voting public that she is - so the SCPR thinks - is vastly more qualified to be judge of the Stark County Court of Common Pleas that Republican Curtis Werren.
Before being appointed by Republican governor John Kasich to a court vacancy, Werren was president of the Stark County chapter of the American Red Cross.
Republican Larry Dordea who ran a, more or less, "gentlemens' campaign" when he ran in 2008 against incumbent sheriff Tim Swanson (who is now on the outs with the Maiers), is now in, what he says (as interpreted by the SCPR) is - to be kind to the Maiers, not that they deserve it - a "political hardball" fight in its harshest form with George (Link to blog detailing Dordea's accusations, implied and otherwise).
But Dordea needs to understand, this may be Johnnie's "Custer's Last Stand." That is to say, electing George sheriff.
For next year, it might be that his political creation Kathy Catazaro-Perry, mayor of Massillon, whose election in 2011 Maier engineered over long time Maier political foe and two decades plus mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr, will be defeated for a second term if she chooses to run.
Even with Catazaro-Perry's election in 2011, Maier showed he was slipping in that, while he was focusing on Catazaro-Perry's mayoralty quest, the Democrats lost control of Massillon City Council.
For those who do not know, Massillon is staunchly Democratic.
He prevailed on then Governor Ted Strickland (who, recognized Johnnie to be the first county chairman to endorse him in the Democratic primary), former U.S. Senator John Glenn, Senator Sherrod Brown, and then-Ohio treasurer Richard Cordray to come to Canal Fulton to campaign for DeHoff.
Since then, DeHoff has fallen on hard times.
But she was and out-and-out Maier loyalist. And that appears to be all that matters to Johnnie and George.
In 2012, perhaps, Johnnie's closest political ally; namely, Judge Edward Elum of the Massillon Municipal Court was disciplined by the Ohio Supreme Court.
In a rare display of Johnnie A. Maier, Jr loyalty to anyone other than himself, so the SCPR thinks, he did submit a letter in support of Elum's quest to avoid discipline by the high court.
The SCPR thinks Dordea may have seen nothing yet compared to "what is yet to come."
When the political end comes for Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., he will go down - not in a whimper - but in a thunderous crash.
There will be great wailing and gnashing of teeth with Maier, Jr and his cult of followers.
But Maier's political demise might not be yet.
It all depends on the November 4, 2014 outcome between brother George and Dordea.
That's "how high the stakes are" in this election!